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Middle World (Book 1 in the Jaguar Stones trilogy)
By J&P Voelkel
Max Murphy is just like any boy. He likes video games and hates school. Yep, he’s pretty normal. Except for the fact that his parents are world renowned archeoligists.
When his parents get called on another one of their digs right before his band concert, he is fed up. Though Max gets suspicious, when, a couple days prior to his parents leaving, he is asked to join them.
When he gets there, his parents have mysteriously disappeared. He must find his parents and get back a valuable treasure.
I liked this book because it was action-packed, and there was never a dull moment. What I noticed about the writing is that it always left you hanging, and so you wanted to read more.
P.S. Coming tomorrow: My interview with the Voelkels!
Albert the Bear
By Nick Butterworth
When sad-and-sullen-looking Albert the Bear lands in Mr. Jolly’s ToyShop, the other toys know something is up. Albert wears a frown that needs to be turned upside down. So the other toys spring into action with a jolly good idea to cheer their chum up. By the end … well, you’ll just have to read the book to learn the tale of the young (once) sad, now cheery bear. Nick Butterworth does a cheery job in telling the tale of young Albert.
p.s. You’re going to see a LOT of familiar faces in Mr. Jolly’s Toy Shop!
After Ever After
By Jordan Sonnenblick
(Before you read this post, you should read my review of Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie.)
After Ever After, the brother to Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, is really inspiring. Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie leaves off when Jeffrey is about 9. After Ever After is told from Jeffrey’s viewpoint this time. He’s all grown up and about to graduate from middle school. His older brother Steven has flown off to Africa to join a drum circle. Jeffrey’s overcome his cancer and met another survivor, too. Thaddeus Ibsen is no ordinary kid. He’s survived cancer two times and now uses a wheelchair. Lindsey Abraham comes into this story, too. She’s a newcomer from California and thinks Jeffrey’s cute; that grosses him out. I don’t want to spoil the end, so read the book to find out more.
The Fourth Stall
By Chris Rylander
Walden Pond Press, 2011
Mac is a problem-solving kid. If you need McDonald’s for lunch or you need to get into a movie, Mac can hook ya up from his office in the boys’ bathroom. The one thing Mac can’t solve is his own problem: Staples. Staples is a deadly gambler who sets up rings and does things like pay people to miss easy free throws in basketball.
Though, he does come through in the end. With the help of some friends, some scheming, and a whole lot of gut, Mac wins the battle.
You rule, Chris Rylander, if you’re reading this!!!!!!
By Raina Telgemeier
A good book for those getting braces, Smile, a realistic fiction book, tells the story of Raina, who knocks out her two front teeth. She then has to go through four years of orthodontic treatment, involving headgear, fake teeth, a retainer and multiple sets of braces. It also tells the story of middle and high school drama: boys, first kisses, make-up, the big p and growing up.
(I got braces in September, and Smile was one of the things I wanted most for Christmas. Until I got my own copy, I would read it every time we went to Quail Ridge Books!)
I strongly recommend parents read the book before giving it to anybody below the age of 9.
~ LitKid (10-year-old reviewer)
It’s time to say goodbye to a year of great success.
Since May, when we started our blog, we’ve come a long way and it’s all due to our loyal readers and supporters.
This year thanks to great people – QRB [Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC] staff, Anita Silvey, Random house [who retweeted our reviews and did great book giveaways] and of course AKid@Heart [mom] – I’ve discovered a lot of emotional, meaningful books. Embarked on many an adventure, all because of books.
Books to me are companions, old pals, and things I could never, ever, ever begin to live without. The blog has been an awesome way to open up about my love of books, bookstores (QRB rocks!) , and authors who share their books with the world. I love doing it and love the people who support us and my mom, AKid@Heart, who is in the process of sending her book into the world. Now to share some of my 2011 favorites:
- The Mother-Daughter Book Club series (The Mother-Daughter Book Club; Much Ado About Anne; Dear Pen Pal; Pies and Prejudice; Home for the Holidays)
- Dex the Super Dog (Picture book)
- A Christmas Carol
- The Friendship Doll
- The Penderwicks on Gardham Street
- The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
- The Revenge of Darth Paper
AU REVOIR 2011! BONJOUR 2012 and a whole new year of book reviews!
A note from AKid@Heart (mom): As with all of her posts and reviews, LitKid wrote this with no help from me … I may point out or add a bit of missing info here and there, but I think she’s done a great job with her writing and reviews this year: Kudos to my LitKid!
‘Tis the season of buying wonderful books to put under the tree for our favorite people (or, for some, ’tis the season to build a tree out of books).
A friend who knows that LitKid and I have a blog about kids’ books asked if I had any book suggestions for their daughter, a friend of LitKid’s who is also a voracious reader and dedicated Harry Potter fan; she especially likes fantasy.
Here are a few off-the-cuff recommendations of all kinds, mostly from LitKid (if she reviewed it earlier this year, you’ll be able to link to her review):
- The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens
- Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (these are both masterpieces; I’ve never been able to wrap my head around how someone can have so much talent in so many realms ~ storytelling, style and artistry)
- Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool (this may be my favorite of all the books I read alongside LitKid this year)
- When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
- Wild Things, Clay Carmichael (a “local” ~ Carmichael lives one county over)
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
- Kiki Strike (series), Kirsten Miller
- The Penderwicks (series), Jeanne Birdsall
- Bunnicula, James Howe and Deborah Howe (recommended by Rosemary, our friend in the Quail Ridge Books kids’ department)
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Johnathan Stroud (LitKid has this, but hasn’t started reading yet; it comes highly recommended by our Quail Ridge experts)
~ AKid@Heart and LitKid
By Elise Primavera
Auntie Claus is one of our favorites because it draws you in automatically with the fantastic illustrations. When young Sophie Kringle decides to tag along on her aunt’s – that is, Auntie Claus’s – mysterious annual business trip, she doesn’t know what’s in store for her.
She stows away in one of Auntie Claus’s boxes, and when the trip is over, she finds she’s at the North Pole! When she gets mistaken for the new elf, the search for her aunt is on. After weeks in the mailroom, she moves on to a more dangerous task: retrieving the Bad-Boy-&-Girl list. To find out more, you’ll have to read the book!
~ LitKid (the 10-year-old reviewer)
Note from AKid@Heart (the mom): We were at our favorite bookstore, Quail Ridge Books and Music, when Ms. Primavera visited a few years ago, and the backstory of how she created the art for Auntie Claus (on huge canvasses) was truly amazing. There are two other Auntie Claus books — Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas and Auntie Claus, Home for the Holidays – and they always figure prominently in our holiday “books as art” displays. Ms. Primavera’s illustrations are, in a word, gorgeous (an adjective I rarely use, but in this case, gushing is in order), and the rich, colorful covers brighten our holiday scene.